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New Health Plan

New Health Plan series

My practice is increasingly preoccupied with concepts and the aesthetics of body and time – particularly in reference to the detritus of a rapidly changing society, the loss and reconfiguring of knowledge and the disintegration of my own body.  Since moving to Beijing in 2006 my work has engaged notions of the isolation of the individual in a foreign environment where language and social behavior is often not understood. Ideas are realized through installation using found objects and discrete painting. Media and processes include found objects, acrylic, ink, wax, sanding

Tony Scott Beijing 2014

Curious devices appear in Tony Scott's New Health Plan series - antique meters, rubber tubes and decanters are attached to still older medical objects, including Chinese acupuncture mannequins, models of feet and occasionally giant sized ears. Added to these installations are neon signs, suggestive of a back room surgery or dental clinic. They speak of bodily uncertainty conveyed through the machines and devices to which we are often subordinate when ill health threatens. The series extends into medical charts overworked by Scott with pastel and oil sticks. They make a surprising connection between the conceptual and abstract sides of his practice, though one that makes sense in the incessant context of urban Chinese culture.

Damian Smith, Melbourne 2016

PostEDEN Today Art Museum Beijing 2010

Somewhat more grounded in the body, Tony Scott peruses the expulsion from paradise as a metaphor for aging and mortal decay. His new installation pieces, works in which human figures are wired to antique medical devices, address the post-Eden condition as one in which suffering is an inevitable though workable part of the game. Conceived as testaments and reflections on the tribulations of bodily change, it conjures all manner of medical scenarios, from which none but the darkly humorous might find relief.

Damian Smith, Beijing

Trading Meaning, 798 space Beijing 2008

Tony Scott’s The New Health Plan series of works of appropriated objects and images, generally associated with Eastern and Western medicine, refer to the marketing of medical practice and products. He takes the medical codification of meaning as the conceptual basis for installations to address mortality and longevity.In the context of this exhibition, Tony Scott’s educational aids may refer to a relationship between marketing strategies and medical practice. The belief that diagnoses of patient’s conditions and the remedies are conditioned by oaths and absolute integrity of practice is subverted when economic interests appear to have an effect on the outcome. Scott references his personal health, related to hearing, foot ailments, blood pressure and dentistry, through an installation of objects used as professional and public aids in traditional Chinese medicine.

Reg Newett Beijing 2009

Chart  William Wright Gallery, Sydney 2010

Tony Scott explores the mechanisms of the body, its failures and various kinds of medical intervention and instrumentation from the modern scientific repertoire but also traditional healing tools including charts and models related to acupuncture points.  Tony Scott has long suffered from serious headaches and has sought various remedies including Chinese traditional medicine.  In his sculptures he often uses wooden figures marked with the appropriate pressure points. These figures seem to stand in for the artist and are often surrounded by scientific apparatus of unspecified but somewhat threatening nature.   Electrodes connecting the body to capacitors or electrical generators are inevitably painful by implication.  Tony has clearly been subject to the sometimes unwelcome interventions of medical professionals over the years.  Living in China he has taken an interest in the wonderful traditional herbal shops that specialise entirely in healing remedies.   The intense and unfamiliar smell of these places is in itself so stimulating that you come out feeling better simply from inhaling the aromas.   Tony clearly feels more at home with such organic experience based remedies than with the more invasive scientific treatment of the body as objectified by science. 

Tony Bond essay for Chart exhibition William Wright Art, Sydney 2009

found-lost  Osage Space, Beijing 2012

Tony Scott  works with objects, in particular those that have only recently been used and discarded. His studio is filled with medical devices that hail from a bygone era; though if the truth be known, it is a passage of a time not all that far in the past. Combined with even older artifacts and images they speak of the progress of our medical knowledge but also of our mortality in the face of our vast corpus of learning. Although the cultural and indeed personal backgrounds of artists may diverge in a myriad of subtle and not so subtle ways, their common interest in found and selected objects and, more importantly, the potential of these finds to be reconstructed and made anew, gives them something of a common conceptual vernacular that straddles more than a country or two. Marcel Duchamp, that master and progenitor of the ‘ready made’ was quite precise on the rules that governed his own remarkable selections. By following these strictures, he ensured that nothing by way of taste or preference intervened in his arcane processes. Slowly however, we came to appreciate these randomly chosen forms, and now the objects that our society so easily discards are transformed by artists predisposed to the task. More significantly they can also be appraised, like the talisman objects they become, for their conceptual and poetic attributes.

Damian Smith Beijing 2011

Art Lane  Soho 189, Hong Kong 2015

Scott’s work has been indelibly shaped by his experiences of a changing China over twenty two years. Found objects picked up in Beijing’s Panjiayuan “dirt market” are employed in witty constructions which merge the autobiographical – memory and corporeal experience – with the metaphysical. His ‘Modern Medical Machine’ installations comprised of sinister apparatus, often in combination with the traditional acupuncture figures he has found in the markets, suggest the fragility of human biology and its vulnerability in the face of disease and invasive medical interventions. Scott has said of his practice that he is concerned with the effects of time and the aesthetics of the body, “particularly in reference to the detritus of a rapidly changing society, the loss and reconfiguring of knowledge and the disintegration of my own body.”

Luise Guest, Sydney/Beijing 2016


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